DCR puts $800k into ‘temporary’ ice rink
STONY BROOK STATION AREA—Improvements to the Kelly ice skating rink currently underway could keep it in use for another 10-15 years.
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is in the midst of an $800,000 rink improvement project that will make the rink—which has suffered age-related maintenance issues in recent years—“a more permanent temporary facility,” DCR spokesperson Ann Roach told the Gazette.
The rink, on Marbury Terrace near the Stony Brook Orange Line T station, is the only outdoor ice skating facility maintained by DCR. It was opened in 1999 as the result of advocacy by Friends of Kelly Rink, after an indoor facility with the same name on the Jamaicaway was torn down.
Friends of Kelly have long advocated for a permanent indoor replacement for the Jamaicaway rink and have, in recent years, been working with the Jackson Square-based community development corporation (CDC) Urban Edge on developing a new Kelly Rink on a parcel owned by Urban Edge on Columbus Avenue. That controversial plan—part of a major multi-developer Jackson Square redevelopment project—is far from a sure thing and would likely not be built for at least five to 10 years. [See related article].
Friends of Kelly spokesperson Steve Glickel told the Gazette “DCR is doing a great job” providing needed improvements to the temporary rink. But he said, “We are not giving up on a permanent rink.”
He said Friends of Kelly wants to see “youth of JP and Roxbury have the same resources…as kids in the outer suburbs…If we are lucky [with DCR improvements] we will get three months a year, so we’ll get an extra month.”
Friends of Kelly oversees the day-to-day operations of the rink, and Glickel said fulltime professional management of the new rink would also be a relief. “I don’t see myself doing this for the next 15 years. The reality is we would like to see it professionally managed,” he said.
“We are not giving up on the dream,” Glickel said.
In the meantime, Roach told the Gazette, DCR is installing new mechanical systems at the rink, a new, smoother ice bed and a new warming room and restrooms.
The new mechanical system will include the installation under the ice bed of some of the rink’s piping that had formerly fed the rink at ground level.
The work, paid for out of DCR’s capital budget, should be completed in November, in time for the rink’s tentative opening—weather permitting—in December.